Science for a Blue Planet

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The Turnstones 2021 Bird-A-Thon

Written by Nancy Gamble, Point Blue Director of Philanthropy

A flock of Heermann’s Gulls at Stinson Beach. Credit: Nancy Gamble/Point Blue.

The day started a little after sunrise at the Stinson Beach parking lot with clear skies, bright sunlight, and a cool crisp breeze. We scanned the creek, tress, and bushes for songbirds, crows, ravens, and anything else that flew by or called out to us. We moved onto the beach and were greeted by a fairly large flock of Heermann’s Gulls and curlews along with early morning walkers with their dogs and oh yes, a cat on a leash!

From there we caravanned to Bolinas Lagoon near Point Blue’s old headquarters and walked out to see pelicans and harbor seals sunning themselves on the mudflats. Things picked up as we headed to Duxbury Reef and climbed a ridge to view the ocean below. The cool breeze became a strong gale and toppled our scopes. We carefully looked over the ridge and saw 3 different kinds of cormorants (Double-crested, Pelagic, and Brandt’s) and not much else (Where were the murres?).

After being properly chastised by the chilling wind, we retreated and headed to Pine Gulch but not without first stopping at the wonderful organic vegetable stand in Bolinas where you pay by the honor system.

Pine Gulch seems to be a favorite spot for birders. What a treat when we bumped into Claire Peaslee, who was the editor of the Observer newsletter for Point Blue for many years. After sharing sightings and general catching up we headed to Five Brooks for a picnic lunch and more birding. We were hoping to see a few wood ducks and Pied-billed Grebes but none were to be found (not even a Mallard) although we did run into several people on horseback and two Pileated Woodpeckers . Undaunted we continued to Bear Valley and walked the earthquake trail and for the final sightings of the day.

To spend a day in beautiful West Marin is always a treat but to share it with our knowledgeable guide, Geoff Geupel, and Tern Society members Rich Cimino and Mardi Leland made for a truly memorable day. We are all looking forward to the next BAT! Visit our team page to donate here.